was a crusty character, one was a mysterious land Baron and one split
loyalties between Mexico and the United States. It’s doubtful that
they were related and about the only thing they had in common was
the fact that all three were tied to a geographic location with the
name Bean in it. Roy founded Beanville in San Antonio, Peter was from
Bean Station, Tennessee and Tom Bean named Tom Bean, Texas.
Born at Bean Station,
Tennessee in 1783, Peter Ellis Bean – sometimes known as Ellis P.
Bean, lived a full life in both Mexico and the United States.
At the age of seventeen, he joined Philip
Nolan's expedition to Spanish Texas, and was captured by the Spanish
in 1801. This encounter resulted in the death of Nolan and the imprisonment
of the surviving members of the group.
In 1810 the Mexican revolutionary priest, José María Morelos was giving
the Spanish fits. Bean had been released from jail to fight for the
Spanish crown, but he decided to throw in his lot with Morelos. He
became a Mexican officer and came back to the United States seeking
While in the U. S., he remembered his Tennessee roots and enlisted
in Jackson's army, taking part in the Battle of New Orleans. He returned
to Mexico and married, but when Morelos was killed, Bean fled Mexico
leaving his wife. After returning to the states, he married a Tennessean
named Candace Midkiff, and together they had three children. In 1823
Bean became an Indian agent for the Mexican Government and was instrumental
in keeping the Cherokees neutral during the Fredonian Rebellion. Because
of his seemingly “split loyalty” he wasn’t trusted by the Mexicans
or the Texians. After Texas Independence he returned to Mexico and
his first wife.
He died at Jalapa, Vera Cruz, in the fall of 1846.
Tom Bean was a
mysterious character that showed up in Grayson
County one day – having just traded his horse and pistol for a
wagon with a yoke of oxen carrying a barrel of whiskey. He had everything
needed to open a saloon and so he did – naming it the White Elephant
for what he considered his end of the trade. His profession other
than saloonkeeper was said to be that of surveyor.
He bought or traded his services for so much land that it was said
he could ride to Austin
(a three day trip) and camp out every night on property he owned.
Reportedly he owned 25,000 acres in Grayson
When asked where he hailed from – his usual reply was “from a Bean
patch.” Bean carried books with him and volumes of Shakespeare and
Dickens seemed to be favorites. He was a Mason and a clean-shaven
man – rather unusual for that period. According to one source he had
one blue and one brown eye. He was not married, although he had a
woman with him and quite a few children running around the place.
He was described as always carrying an umbrella and wearing a bee-gum
hat – whatever that was.
He granted 100 acres of land to the railroad – having the
town named in his honor in return. When he died, over 100 people
filed claims against the estate, making it one of the most famous
of Texas civil law suits. Tom Bean is buried in the Willow Wild cemetery
in Bonham, Texas.
The Tom Bean Tom Cats are the local high school football team.